The Australian Government has taken the next step in fighting deadly occupational respiratory diseases like silicosis by establishing Australia’s first National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry.
The National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry Bill 2023 passed the Federal Parliament today to establish the National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry.
Nearly one in four engineered stone workers employed in the industry prior to 2018 have been diagnosed with silicosis or other silica dust related diseases. This number is predicted to rise but the total number of workers who have silicosis and other dust diseases in Australia is currently unknown.
The National Registry will help eliminate preventable occupational respiratory diseases by supporting earlier detection, intervention and prevention. It will provide a better understanding of how widespread occupational respiratory diseases are, help reduce worker exposure, and improve the quality of life for the people affected and their families.
The National Registry will record the type and extent of occupational respiratory diseases in Australia, with the reporting of silicosis to be mandatory.
The Government committed $2.4 million for the operation of the national registry through to 2025–26, with the registry expected to be fully operational within six months.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister Kearney:
“No one should die because they’ve turned up to work. Establishing the National Registry will help Australia fight silicosis and other dust related diseases.
“This registry will save lives. We’ll be able to identify the industries, occupations, job tasks and workplaces that are at risk, and use targeted early intervention and prevention activities to reduce worker exposure and disease”.